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Guest Dwayne

Umpire

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Guest Dwayne

I was umpiring a Dixie Belles softball game and had an unusual situation that I have not encountered as an umpire in my 20+ years.  Batter hits the pitch which bounces straight up directly in front of the plate in fair territory.  Her bat inadvertently hits the ball a second time as she concludes her back swing while she is still in the batters box, but does not alter the course of the ball.  The catcher fields the ball and over throws first, and thereby batter/runner is standing safe at first.  I ruled double touch of bat was incidental and therefore, called batter/runner safe on the play, as well as allowing runners to advance.  Defensive coach argued call and asked field ump for an appeal.  We conferred and both agreed the play was incidental and the batter made no purposeful intent to hit the ball with the bat a second time.  The call stood.  The defensive coach wanted the batter/runner to be called out, and to no avail, he then argued that it should at least be a dead ball call and all runners return to their respective bases.  Finally, he argued that it should be a foul ball (I said no because the ball did not touch the batter).  We stated it was a live ball and all runners are safe.

The rule book states that if a ball hits a bat lying on the ground a second time and is incidental, then play is live.  It doesn't really have a ruling, or one that I can find, on a bat hitting a ball the second time if it is still being held by the batter, so my ruling was based on the same premise as the ball did not change course, was in fair territory, and was not done on purpose.

I'd appreciate any feedback on this.

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I can't answer for Softball, but in Baseball, this would be a foul ball:

 

(7) His fair ball touches him before touching a fielder. If the

batter is in a legal position in the batter’s box, see Rule

5.04 (b)(5) (Rule 6.03), and, in the umpire’s judgment,

there was no intention to interfere with the course of the

ball, a batted ball that strikes the batter or his bat shall be

ruled a foul ball;

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How would you rule if the batter were bunting and the ball hit the plate, bounced up, and hit the bat again?  If you said foul ball, you'd be correct.  Same situation.  If you judged that the batter was still in the box, foul ball.

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Guest Umpire, Dwayne
1 hour ago, johnpatrick said:

How would you rule if the batter were bunting and the ball hit the plate, bounced up, and hit the bat again?  If you said foul ball, you'd be correct.  Same situation.  If you judged that the batter was still in the box, foul ball.

Makes perfect sense now.  Just for the sake of another scenario, what would be the call if the ball hit the bat a second time while being held "if the batter/runner" had left the batters box.  Many thanks.

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I don't know if Dixie Belle's rules are any different than most other sanctioning bodies of fastpitch softball would be different (I wouldn't expect this to be a change), but this should be called the same as baseball for a second touch of the ball while still in the batter's possession, foul ball. 

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Not sure what rule set you follow, but I found this in the NFHS Softball Case Book:

A SECOND TIME 7.4.13 SITUATION: B1 swings and (a) hits the ball which strikes home plate and bounces up hitting the bat while the batter is in the batter's box; (b) after laying down the bat and running to first, the ball hits the bat in fair territory; or (c) while advancing to first, drops the bat in fair territory and the bat, while still moving, hits the ball. RULING: A foul ball in (a). The ball remains live in (b). In (c), the batter is out and the ball is dead.

 

 

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